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Star columnist faces the fearful truth about Stephen Harper

A pedestrian walks past a Toronto Star box in front of the newspaper's offices on Jan. 18, 2008.

MARK BLINCH/REUTERS

No Canadian political campaign worth its salt is well and truly under way until Heather Mallick (now spilling ink on dead trees over at The Toronto Star) writes something absolutely stone crazy. Cue the lunacy:

"As I have written before, Harper's targeting of perceived enemies verges on the Stalinist. I find Harper's treatment of Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, whose Russian ancestors fled the Reds, as sinister as anything I have ever seen in politics. Harper's goons accuse Ignatieff of being an aristocrat passing himself off as a regular guy. Funny, the Ignatieffs would have heard this from the Communists a century ago. No one's responsible for their relatives. And wealth - if Ignatieff's grandparents had any - isn't a crime. But the Stalinists, and indeed the Khmer Rouge who condemned intellectuals and killed anyone wearing glasses, didn't see it that way."

As any number of Sopranos were wont to say " Whoa!!! The Khmer Rouge!?! Waddaya, nuts?!?"

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Still, when you're preaching that insistently to the choir, Mallick's throwing Steve in with Pol Pot falls inside the foul lines. What the hell, let's label it satire and call it a day.

Too bad really. The Star, house organ for the radical centre, could make it their mission to convince open-minded readers that the Tories aren't exactly the rational choice. The editors might gently help explain to a besieged suburban middle class - whose house price is soon to collapse, whose ailing parents and kids tuition are one way tickets to bankruptcy - that there might just be another more moderate way.

Naah, who am I kidding; better to label Harper a goose-stepping dictator who yearns to chain his own people to a yoke of insufferable ideological horror. That ought to keep the subscriptions churning.

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